I thought I should send you an update on Israel today. By now most of you know that a unity government will form tomorrow. It will have 72 out of 120 parliament seats. Amazingly, it looks like the right-wing religious Zionist party, Yamina, under Naftali Bennet, will not join the government. They claim that Prime Minister Netanyahu simply is not offering them significant portfolios. They are angry. However, to accommodate all the parties that are joining, Netanyahu will increase the number of cabinet / portfolio positions to 36. 17 is the usual and recommended number. It is sad to see that this has to happen.
However, it gives two opportunities. One is for Bibi to annex the settlements of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and the Jordan Valley. Secretary of State Pompeo of the United States is in Israel today to discuss the Trump peace plan and annexation. Some European leaders are apoplectic about this possibility.
I hope that this government can address social issues, housing, the cost of living, and equal justice in services for Arab Israeli citizens. On having the ultra-Orthodox work and be productive citizens economically we will still have to wait. They are too powerful. For justice on citizenship issues for Messianic Jews and status for Russian Jews, we will also have to wait.
On another front, Israel’s progress in the Corona Virus is stunning. We are down to 4,104 cases and only 54 intubated. Israel is opening up the economy. The biggest problem is El Al which looks to go out of business without massive government support (this is in the balance). I love flying El Al and dearly hope this does not happen. Secondly, tourism is a huge economic engine here and it is dead right now. I hope it comes back in the late summer and early fall.
The Messianic Jewish community seems to be stronger for the whole trial. Internet services have been amazing throughout the Land.